Thinking about ISTE Standard 3: Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society, has provided me a lot of “food for thought” this week. My triggering question and thoughts on this standard were as follows:
I want to be a teacher who is accessible to my students, their parents and the community. I believe it is necessary to promote open communication for the benefit of the student. To be an innovated educator in this digital society, I need to explore how I can communicate with my students and their parents about daily work, schedule, class events, class calendar, assessments, student successes and challenges. I want to explore ways to connect with parents, possibly use an online newsletter for my classroom, grade quickly and effectively and promote the use of these tools with my students and their parents.
This line of thought led me to think about effective communicating. I found a plethora of online resources that can be used to grade students, keep up with parents, create school calendars and schedules, and many other helpful organization and communication tools that I want to use in my classroom. With all of the resources and tools available now, I am confident that there are tools for communicating with students and parents in a way that is realistic, innovative and timely. I am also aware that I am more comfortable using a lot of these types of tools, as I have been using them throughout my life, in and out of school, and have the opportunity to explore many technological resources. I feel at ease exploring sites, sources of information, reading through manuals and teaching myself how to use a technological tool. I am also aware that not all of my students and their parents will feel as comfortable with online and technological resources. Therefore, communication and learning must occur for these tools to be helpful to my students, their parents and the community. But who facilitates this learning? If parents need a tutorial about how to use a class site, for example, who provides them with this information- the teacher? Administrator? Student?
Reading through The Difference Between Digital Literacy and Digital Fluency, allowed me to reflect on my own experience and comfort level with technology and become more aware of other people’s experiences with technology: “Literacy and fluency* have to do with our ability to use a technology to achieve a desired outcome in a situation using the technologies that are available to us”. In a literacy course, I learned that literacy does not just mean being able to read text but rather being able to fully comprehend the meaning behind text, to contextualize it. Similarly, digital literacy is the ability to comprehend and use technology- similar to a person’s ability to speak a foreign language with communication success, but digital fluency means being able to fully engross oneself in that language- in this case a digital language- and create what is needed. This made me think that one must understand something more completely to teach it than to just mull it over in one’s mind and grasp the general idea. In The Net Generation as Preservice Teachers: Transferring Familiarity with New Technologies to Educational Environments, researchers explain that pre-service teachers in the Net generation is often well-versed in many aspects of the digital age but they lack a confidence in many technological applications and there abilities often do not extend to the classroom, “participants were ‘savvy with the basic technologies. However, their technology proficiency is limited by both the narrow scope and the lack of depth of the technology activities” (Kumar & Vigil, 146).
With these new ideas in mind, regarding the level of comprehension one needs for using digital resources, I aim to be highly cognizant of my student’s and their parent’s digital capabilities, promote higher level comprehension in a way that is realistic and effective, and use technology in my classroom that makes sense for the community of people involved. Using technology for the sake of using it is not an example of digital fluency. I must continue to increase my digital abilities so that I fully understand when, why, and how to use technology in my classroom, and what tool would be most effective for my objective.
The Difference Between Digital Literacy and Digital Fluency: http://www.socialens.com/blog/2011/02/05/the-difference-between-digital-literacy-and-digital-fluency/
Kumar, Swapna & Katya Vigil (2011). The Net Generation as Preservice Teachers: Transferring Familiarity with New Technologies to Educational Environments Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27, 4: 144-152.